We began working in Ukraine in 2003, setting up an emergency relief programme in the Podol district of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. This involved distributing food parcels to large families, mainly with a single parent. In addition a counselling service for children and young people at risk from HIV/AIDS through experimenting with drugs was started. Advice is also given to their parents. There is an SOS Children's Village in Brovary.
Playbus Gives the Children Chance to Play
There are three families programmes, aimed at helping families and kids in need. The consulting centre, dealing with issues of HIV/AIDS; playbus, giving the children the opportunity to play and develop themselves and finally, prevention of abandonment, which is directly aimed at strengthening the families.
Playbus - playing and helping
SOS Children co-operates with people from local social centres who they taught for free and are regularly checking how the project is developing. Natasha, co-worker of the Social Service for Youth of Darnickaya region of Kiev says that since March 2004 they have travelled in the region to certain places, mostly near the social centres.
"Mostly we are playing different games with the children. The goal is to give the children simply possibility to play instead of roving around aimlessly, they find us themselves, and it means there's a need for that kind of service," she says. "But it's not the only task - we see here lots of children who are living on the streets, it's easily identified visually, we help them by directing them delicately to our counselling centres, where we offer psychological help for the kids; usually the parents have judicial problems with apartments or with documents."
SOS Children's Villages taught the local social workers
According to her the results so far are small, but still noticeable: three volunteers, who have helped the project to work, started to study social work in a local college. "Volunteers also "grow up" and they go to their home-region and they continue the work they have learned here."
"The role of SOS Children is that they taught us the method of working with children - first we play lots of interesting games and then we go to the social centre to communicate and do some activities which develop the children."
The need in countryside
In the city the need for this kind of program is not so fiercely sensible, but in the countryside, where almost everything is on the low level of development - no cinemas, no theatres, not even asphalted roads and even light at evenings - you feel it very clearly how badly they need it. "Unfortunately we travel to the countryside not very often as we have some financial problems," she says
The future of the project depends on the enthusiasm of volunteers and financial support from the municipality. "The developing part of the project - where we draw, cut, glue, sew - is quite expensive as the number of children we are talking about is quite high and we need to cater them with all the necessary equipment.
Although it's quite difficult to count the children who have participated in the playbus during the eight months, the approximate number of beneficiaries is up to 8,000.